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Cherokee Nation 'working together' to help elders apply online for $2,000 COVID-19 assistance payments

Cherokee Nation 'working together' to help elders apply online for $2,000 COVID-19 assistance payments

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Schedule of upcoming drive-through community assistance events for Cherokee Nation elders struggling to apply for pandemic assistance payments through the online Gadugi Portal. Provided

About 38% of Cherokee Nation citizens have applied for pandemic assistance since late May, and the tribe will soon host drive-through community events focused on assisting elders with more applications.

Legislation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin signed May 27 promised a $2,000 lump sum payment to each of the more than 392,000 Cherokee citizens. As of Friday, nearly 150,000 had applied for their share.

But the tribe wants to ensure that its elders aren’t being left behind in a wave of new technology, so it’s living out the name of its online application portal — Gaduji means “working together.”

“We know some of our elders may lack the technology to register online or have barriers to connectivity, so the Cherokee Nation is coming to their community to assist,” Hoskin said in a release.

“Putting our elders first is the Cherokee way, and we know many of our elders have been especially impacted by COVID-19 with higher utility and food costs. Our staff will be out in full force to ensure that our elders do not miss out on the COVID-19 assistance payments that the Cherokee Nation is offering.”

Deputy Chief Bryan Warner said the tribe has dedicated 43% of the $1.8 billion received from the American Rescue Plan as direct assistance payments to help citizens recover from the pandemic, and he’s hoping each citizen will apply.

The drive-through events will be held primarily to assist elders with the application, but workers also will help others who don’t have access to the Internet or a mobile phone to apply. Also, guidance will be offered for elders who have lost their citizenship cards or do not know their registration numbers.

No assistance will be available for new tribal registration applications at the community events. Those needing to register as a Cherokee Nation citizen must continue to seek assistance via mail, phone, fax, email or in-person in Tahlequah, the release states.

All events run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Their dates and locations are as follows:

  • Vinita: Monday, June 14, at Craig County Fairgrounds, 915 E. Apperson Road
  • Tahlequah: Tuesday, June 15, in the Old Cherokee Nation Casino Parking Lot, 16489 U.S. 62
  • Warner: Wednesday, June 16, at the Warner Event Center
  • Bartlesville: Thursday, June 17, at the Tri-County Technology Center, 6101 Nowata Road
  • Sallisaw: Friday, June 18, at Carl Albert State College, 1601 Opdyke Road
  • Pryor: Monday, June 21, at the Pryor Rec Center, 111 S.E. Ninth St.
  • Catoosa: Tuesday, June 22, at the J.W. Sam Building, 701 W. Rollins St.
  • Stilwell: Wednesday, June 23, in the Cherokee Nation parking lot at the former CNI and Walmart Building, 320 W. Locust St.
  • Kansas: Thursday, June 24, next to the old gym at Kansas High School, 700 Woods Ave.
  • Hulbert: Friday, June 25, at Hulbert City Park
  • South Coffeyville: Monday, June 28, at NAFI, 215 Oklahoma St.
  • North Tulsa: Tuesday, June 29, in Parking Lot B at OSU Tulsa, 700 N. Greenwood Ave.
  • Jay: Wednesday, June 30, behind the Jay Health Center at the Cherokee Nation PPE/Food Distribution Center, 1305 N. Industrial Park Road

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Staff Writer

I write because I care about people, policing and peace, and I believe the most informed people make the best decisions. I joined the Tulsa World in 2019 and currently cover breaking news. Phone: 918-581-8455

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